Ohio’s prison population is at record levels. State leaders will attempt new methods to stop these rising numbers. A report by corrections officials recently urges faith-based approaches to reducing both adult and youth recidivism in Ohio, which is 38%. This report comes from the Correctional Faith-Based Initiative Task Force, offering 16 recommendations for how to do this.
The Center for Moral Clarity supports this plan, stressing its voluntary nature of participation in faith-based programs for all faiths. This is program to help prisoners avoid crime after release, by attending to the whole individual. Christians, as well as those of other faiths, will be called on to develop effective training classes in life skills, financial management, personal hygiene, and parenting skills, among others.
Since inmates volunteer for the program, there is less potential for opposition than those with mandatory participation, and less of a concern about church vs. state. The benefit of these programs is that faith-based groups will help to reshape Ohio’s prison populations, including the sixth-largest number of youth held in the United States. Something must be done about this problem. As of September 2006, there were 1,788 youth in our state prisons, and Ohioâ€™s 32 prisons held 47,258 adult inmates as well. If faith-based programs can help willing inmates, then members of the faith-based communities should step up and help.